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The Greatest Act of Faith : The First Organic Union of the Church of South India
Authorship Description
Israel Selvanayagam.
Bibliographical Details xxii, 260 p. 25 cm.
Edition, Place & Publisher 1st ed. New Delhi, Christian World Imprints.
ISBN-10 9351483924
ISBN-13 9789351483922, 978-9351483922
Year of Publication 2019.
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This book expounds the forgotten meaning of faith as the ability to move forward, to dare the impossible and to transform situations for good. This meaning is connected to the ecumenical heroes of more than seventy Christian leaders in South India, both western missionaries and natives, who negotiated for twenty-eight years and inaugurated the Church of South India in 1947 as the first organic union of Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists and members of the Basel Mission Church. The last three united in 1908 as the South India United Church. As the 'Tranquebar Manifesto' (1919), the initial and guiding document notes, the proponents aimed `not at compromise for the sake of peace, but at comprehension for the sake of truth.' In spite of several hurdles, the negotiators persisted with patience and prayer for the sake of realising the prayer of Jesus `that they may be one so that the world will believe'. But both in the West and in India, this story has been forgotten, its unique identity lost and its cutting edge on church unity flattened. This book calls for a reclaim and reformation.



1. Background: A Personal Journey
2. Roots and Branches: An Outline of the Church's Story
3. Stars in the Dark Clouds of Denominational Divisions in South India
4. Venturing into a Faith Journey towards Organic Union
5. Clarification of Some Issues
6. Efforts to Widen Union
7. Distortion of Organic Union by Absorption into the Anglican Communion
8. Towards an Ever-Reforming Evangelistic Organic Union


Rev. Dr. Israel Selvanayagam is a presbyter of the Church of South India. Apart from pastoral ministry, he has taught Religions, Interreligious Relations and Mission in several theological institutions both in India and abroad. Currently he is the minister of the Evesham Methodist Church, England. He has published extensively both in English and Tamil.

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